Cavities are one of the most common dental health issues out there, yet not everyone with cavities needs a dental filling right away. Instead, the dentist will recommend other treatments like fluoride or sealants first. Ultimately, though, fillings are necessary because they provide patients with protection from future tooth decay. By filling the cavity and restoring the tooth’s structure, the filling will prevent bacteria from making their way in and affecting the tooth again.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a restoration used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, or fractures. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite resin material. This hardened material provides strength to the weakened tooth structure and restores the tooth to its natural function and shape.
If the cavity is allowed to go untreated, the tooth is at risk for more serious damage, including infection and even loss of the tooth altogether. In this case, a dental filling would be the best way to protect the patient’s oral health in the long term.
This patient had a cavity that needed treatment. The dentist filled the tooth to prevent further decay and preserve the patient’s health.
Patients often choose composite fillings for their natural appearance as they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, making the restoration undetectable to the naked eye. However, amalgam fillings can also be used in some patients, depending on their circumstances. Your dentist can help you decide which material is best suited to you.
Types of Dental Fillings
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are silver in color and have been used for decades. They are composed of a mixture of metals, including mercury, tin, and copper, that hardens once placed in the tooth. The metal mixture is durable enough to withstand the normal wear and tear of everyday chewing. However, the durability comes with the price of limited aesthetic appeal for patients.
Composite Resin Fillings
Nowadays, patients intend to choose composite resin fillings. Because these fillings are tooth-colored, they look more natural than other materials. This makes them ideal for cavity treatment on the front of your teeth or for small areas of decay on other areas of your smile. The composite material is also slightly flexible, which allows it to withstand the pressure of biting and chewing without cracking the tooth.
Stainless Steel Fillings
Modern stainless steel fillings are stronger than other types of restorations and can last many years with good oral hygiene. They are composed of a metal alloy, such as nickel or chromium, along with small amounts of carbon and other metals. However, some patients prefer metal-free alternatives due to cosmetic concerns.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
A glass ionomer filling is made of powdered glass and acrylic resin that chemically reacts with water to bind together the filling material. This type of filling is a good option for young patients or adults who are prone to tooth sensitivity. The filling material is slightly more fragile than other options for fillings but offers similar durability and strength when bonded to the tooth.
Schedule an appointment with Foxfield Dental for professional dental cleanings. Visit us at 16350 E Arapahoe Rd Unit #114, Foxfield, CO 80016. Contact us at (720) 870-0401 or visit our website to book an appointment.